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What are the Biggest Challenges Employers Face When it Comes to High Quality Mental Health Support?

Goldbloom Event for LinkedIn-1

Dr David Goldbloom, author of "We Can Do Better: Urgent Innovations to Improve Mental Health Access and Care" and Lawrence Hughes, SVP People and Culture at Porter Airlines joined MindBeacon's Innovations in Workplace Mental Health event to discuss workplace mental health, reducing stigma, offering choice and how to truly help employees build resilience and feel better. 

HubSpot Video

Video: 3:22

Want to hear more of their insights? You can access the full webcast here.


Dr Peter Farvolden: What do you see as the biggest challenges that employers face when it comes to ensuring that their employees have access to high quality mental health support?

Dr David Goldbloom: Right. And I think you've already actually answered part of the question in terms of barriers, because in terms of our publicly funded health system, outside of hospital settings, only physicians are publicly funded to provide mental health services.

Not only are there not enough physicians to do that, but I would also argue, in fact, that it shouldn't all be provided by physicians in the first place; that mental health services are delivered by a wide range of skilled professionals. And so, there is an inequity of access in terms of public funding. But within the workplace, I think there are a variety of barriers, you mentioned that EAPs are underutilized, and I think even with EAPs, there are barriers.

First of all, there's the barrier of trust. I've talked to lots of people in different workplaces across Canada, who are not persuaded that the information they disclose to an EAP provider will not find its way back to their company, to their HR department, to their colleagues to their boss. So, they're apprehensive. Others have no idea how to access it and, others prefer to go a different route or feel that the very time limited help they can get from an EAP is not going to be sufficient to their needs.

But, I think there's a bigger issue lurking beyond that. That is a culture issue. I think, for private sector employees, to think that “Well, if we just set up an EAP program, we are done” misses the big picture entirely. Because this is about culture change and there are lots of organizations - I've heard Lawrence talk about it - where the culture change, and the necessary leadership to make the culture change happen are integral parts in employees feeling comfortable and positive about getting the mental health help that they need. And, frankly, it is an act of enlightened self-interest by companies when they meet the mental health needs of their employees because study after study, from people who know how to count numbers like Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), show that there's a positive return on investment, when you invest in the mental health of your employees, quite apart from what it pays off at the individual and familial level, when you help people who are struggling.

Want to hear more of their insights? You can access the full webcast here.